John Shadegg, Republican Representative of Arizona’s District 3 has announced his candidacy for the House’s second leadership position, Majority Leader, recently vacated permanently by ethically troubled Tom DeLay (this would be a good time to send a few dollars to Democrat Don Chilton who seeks to unseat Shadegg, BTW). I’m going to make a bold prediction right now: Shadegg is going to win this one.
There are several reasons for my conclusion: Shadegg’s ideological pedigree, Shadegg’s early support from key constituencies (including his immediate endorsement by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform), the growing influence of the Arizona delegation in the Republican party, Shadegg’s monolayer of bi-partisan patina; but the real reason is that Congressional GOPers need some ethical cover from fund-raising and lobbying violations for the 2006 election season and Shadegg’s the only guy on the board with a ghost of a chance at providing it. He, too, took Abramoff money, but little of it, and returned it promptly. Shadegg has a reputation for probity and ethical conduct married to a bulletproof neo-con right wing ideological pedigree that few could best. These qualities will make him the next Majority Leader.
I don’t think that he will loom as large as did Tom DeLay in that role. The only reason that DeLay was so powerful was his special relationship with Hastert (though technically junior to Hastert, in many ways Hastert was DeLay’s creature) and his ability to dole out leadership PAC money like Halloween candy. Shadegg won’t have either of these attributes and will likely play a much more traditional role as Leader.
But make no mistake, Shadegg’s election will not be a good thing for Arizona, nor for average Americans, nor for anyone other than the most regressive and right-wing elements of the GOP base. Shadegg is a rock-solid right wing ideologue who came to the House in the Gingrich Revolution and now possesses a long and increasingly conservative record (check out his interest group ratings, issue positions, and public statements if you don’t believe me) and a penchant for toeing the party line. He will now be strong-arming his fellow party members into betraying America, instead of just thinking up ways of betraying America as he did in his former job as Chair of the GOP House Policy Committee.
Shadegg is neccessary window dressing on just more of the same from the criminals, scofflaws, idiots, and fools who are running our Congress, and our country, straight into the ground.